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The NewMusic@ECU Festival, scheduled for Feb. 22-28, will feature the Grammy-nominated Imani Winds wind quartet, pictured above. (Contributed photo)

NewMusic@ECU Festival Brings Composers, Musicians

by Harley Dartt

All the great composers of music are not dead European men in powdered wigs.

The NewMusic Festival at East Carolina University School of Music celebrates ten years of bringing the music of our time to eastern North Carolina with an eclectic line-up of contemporary composers and musicians this February 22–28. This year's festival features six concerts, master classes with visiting composers and performers, reading sessions of student composers' works, and includes performance of new works for piano and clarinet, wind quintet, marimba and percussion, symphony and voice.

Since the first festival in 2001, the NewMusic@ECUFestival has presented over 300 compositions that have never been heard in this region, including 61 world-premiere performances.  Audience members have attended each of more than fifty concert/recitals.  Performers have come from as close as the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, to as far away as the University of California at Davis, Boston, New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, Florida, and Germany.

This year, the Grammy-nominated Imani Winds wind quintet performs on February 25, showcasing their dynamic playing, culturally poignant programming and genre-blurring collaborations. With two member composers and a deep commitment to commissioning new work, the group is enriching the traditional wind quintet repertoire while meaningfully bridging European, American, African and Latin American traditions.

Nathaniel Bartlett brings his marimba experience to ECU on February 26. Bartlett's performances seamlessly meld his five-octave acoustic marimba with electronics, a powerful custom computer named Atlas, and an eight-channel cube of loudspeakers. With the audience positioned in the center of the cuboid loudspeaker array, a three-dimensional soundfield can be projected into the audience space, totally immersing the listeners.

The 2010 NewMusic@ECU Festival Orchestral Composition Competition winner “Genius Loci” by Ingrid Stölzel will be performed on February 28 by the ECU Symphony on the culminating the 2010 NewMusic@ECU Festival. For more information, visit

2010 Schedule of Events
(all in A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall, unless noted)

Feb. 22: 8 p.m.: Premiere Performances of ECU Student Composers
Feb. 24: 9 p.m.: Chris Nappi, percussion "...& friends" at The Tipsy Teapot
Feb. 25: 8 p.m.: Imani Winds (Ticketed event, call 252-328-4788 or 1-800-ECU-ARTS for information or purchase tickets at the door.)
Feb. 26: 8 p.m.: Nathaniel Bartlett, marimba & 3-D, Hi-Def, Comp-Gen. Sound Projection
Feb. 27: 3 p.m.: ECU NewMusic Camerata
             8 p.m.: Nathan Williams, clarinet and Audrey Andrist, piano
Feb. 28: 3 p.m.: ECU Orchestra, Jorge Richter, Director, at Wright Auditorium

This story appeared originally in the Jan. 29, 2010 issue of Pieces of Eight. An archived version of that issue is available at